Czech biathlon star Davidová narrowly misses out on gold in Beijing

Plus: Hurricane hits Czechia's highest mountain, Zeman sparks controversy with Ukraine comments, social media falls in love with Czech curler's earrings.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 07.02.2022 09:42:00 (updated on 07.02.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

15:30 Czech billionaire faces up to two years in jail for autobahn ride

Czech businessman Radim Passer will be investigated by German public prosecutors over his 417 km/h ride on the German A2 autobahn, a video of which was uploaded to YouTube. A German news agency has claimed Passer faces up to two years in prison or a fine. Although there are technically no speed limits on the autobahn, reckless driving can be punished. The 58-year-old Passer drove his Bugatti Chiron at extreme high speeds on the German road last year, although the video was only uploaded to YouTube last month.

15:16 Moravian woman defrauded of CZK 750,000 online

A woman from the Moravian town Kroměříž lost almost CZK 750,000 to an online scammer, according to police. The perpetrator pretended to be an American wine merchant, leading the woman to send hundreds of thousands of crowns to various bank account numbers in the last few months. The criminal faces up to five years in prison for fraud. The incident has led police to warn about attempts by criminals to exploit trusting individuals.

13:27 Czech industry grew by 6.4 percent in 2021

Czech industry grew by 6.4 percent year-on-year in 2021. Activities for most industries improved after a severe downturn in 2020 caused by the pandemic. Construction output rose 1.4 percent, but industrial production still failed to reach post-pandemic levels, according to the Czech Statistical office. Continued problems for the industrial sector were largely the result of a slowdown in automotive production in the final quarter of the year, resulting from global supply chain issues. Foreign trade showed a deficit of CZK 1.46 billion.

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11:30 Castle officials' salaries published

The Office for the President of the Czech Republic has today published the salaries of Prague Castle staff for last year. Zeman's chief of staff Vratislav Mynář earned a total of CZK 1.4 million last tear, plus almost half a million crowns in bonuses. Spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček meanwhile earned CZK 744,000 with an additional CZK 170,000 in bonuses. Both figures attracted major controversy during the hospitalization of President Miloš Zeman in October and November last year due to a lack of communication with journalists and the general public about Zeman's health condition.

11:00 Czech Davidová narrowly misses out on medal in biathlon

Czech biathlon athlete Markéta Davidová missed out on an Olympic gold medal after a mistake in the closing stages of a 15 kilometer endurance race. Davidová was on course for victory but missed with her final shot of the match. The resultant one-minute penalty knocked her down to sixth place. Davidová accepted the result with good grace, saying "I performed well, only the girls, my rivals, were better." Davidová's agonizing mistake after an almost perfect performance means the wait for a Czech medal at the Games goes on.

10:30 Prague speed cameras get an upgrade

Prague City Hall has announced a new contract for the regular maintenance and servicing of almost thirty speed cameras around the capital city. A city councilor said ensuring properly functioning speed cameras is crucial to ensuring safety on the roads, acting as a preventive measure rather than an attempt to catch out drivers. The transfer of the management of speed cameras to the Municipal Technology Company for the Capital City of Prague is taking place gradually, with equipment defects already fixed in eight locations throughout the city this year. It's hoped that by the end of February, all speed traps in the city will be functioning properly.

10:07 Fifteen-year-old girl dies after being hit by train in Smíchov

A fifteen-year-old girl died after being hit by a train at Smíchov train station in Prague this morning. Police said she died on the spot after suffering severe injuries. The passenger train, traveling from Český Brod to Beroun, hit the girl at the station's third platform just before 09:00. Police say they have no further information to publish about the incident at this time, as they continue to work at the scene of the incident.

Mountain danger Hurricane hits Czech Republic’s tallest mountain

Hurricane-force winds hit Sněžka, the Czech Republic’s tallest mountain, yesterday, reaching speeds of up to 144 km/h in the afternoon according to data from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. The threshold above which winds can be categorized as hurricane-force is 118 km/h.

A warning against heavy snowfall and strong winds remains in place on the mountain. Hikes on the mountain are being strongly discouraged by the Krkonoše Mountain Service, with avalanche warnings reaching the third degree of the international danger scale, meaning significant risk. Six people, compromising three adults and three children aged two to seven, went missing on the mountain yesterday and were only found after a two-hour search in the afternoon.

Politics Zeman sparks controversy with Ukraine comments

Czech President Miloš Zeman has made international headlines by downplaying the threat of Russian invasion at the Ukrainian borders. Zeman said the Russians are not crazy, and that western troop movements to the Ukrainian border are “saber-rattling.”

Zeman also said Ukraine cannot join NATO because it is a country torn by “civil war” in its eastern Donbas region. The President’s comments were dismissed by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who said that “another attempt by President Zeman to harm relations will end in yet another failure.” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský is today heading to Ukraine with his Slovak and Austrian counterparts to express solidarity with the country.

Olympics Social media falls in love with Czech curler's earrings

Czech curler Zuzana Paulová went viral on social media this weekend after wearing a pair of earrings in the shape of curling stones during the Czech curling team's participation in the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Paulová said she wore the earrings to show her support for junior Czech curling teams also competing the same day.

Paulová, competing together with her husband Tomáš Paul, finished in sixth place overall in the mixed doubles curling tournament. They ended with four wins and five defeats from nine matches, having beaten hosts China in the first match of the competition. The Czech amateur pair, who work as bankers by day, achieved their self-professed target of finishing somewhere between fifth and seventh at the Games.

Crime Czech Republic’s biggest bike maker reports huge robbery

The Czech Republic’s largest bicycle manufacturer, BIKE FUN International (BFI), based in Kopřivnice in the Novojičínsko region, has reported the robbery of over CZK 250 million worth of equipment. The large-scale theft will significantly complicate production leading to delays of up to a year for the development of some models, the company’s management has announced.

The robbery targeted a lorry, which was carrying equipment to the manufacturer in the Czech Republic, at a motorway rest stop in Germany. It’s thought a well-organized criminal gang was behind the theft. According to BFI, the robbery couldn’t have come at a worse time with components already scarce due to global supply chain problems.

Weather Bad weather wreaks transport havoc and more is to come

A fallen tree near Domažlice disrupted train traffic between Prague and Munich yesterday, with trains only able to start running again after three hours of work by firefighters to clear the tracks. The disruption occurred after a train hit the fallen tree late yesterday afternoon. None of the 35 passengers or crew on board the train were hurt in the incident.

Czech fire crews reported 267 incidents across the country in connection with yesterday’s strong winds, with most coming in Central Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia. Meteorologists continue to warn against snow and strong winds at the start of this week, turning into rainfall across the country on Tuesday. Warm temperatures will arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, before frosty weather returns at the end of the week.

Developments Government falling short on social housing developments

The Czech Ministry of Regional Development originally planned to build 5,000 social flats with EU subsidies by the end of 2023, but the real number will be no more than 2,212. This was found out by the Supreme Audit Office, which cited low interest from applicants for social housing as the main reason for the slow development process.

The Ministry attracted criticism for a long and unwieldy evaluation process for the project. As a result of a lack of interest in social housing projects, the money allocated to such developments was cut from CZK 7.5 billion in 2015 to CZK 4.5 billion in 2017. The Ministry was then criticized for poor selection methods in deciding which projects to support.

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